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Why Superfish could be the best thing to happen to the PC industry in years

By Shawn Knight
Feb 27, 2015
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  1. superfish microsoft windows lenovo bloatware pc manufacturers adware utilities games boutique pc pre-installed apps programs toolbars screensavers junkware pc builders signature edition microsoft signature edition

    The Superfish debacle has been an embarrassment and legal concern to Lenovo, a headache to affected customers and yet another concern for the security community. Now that the dust has had time to settle, we’re beginning to see the good emerge as a result of the ordeal.

    Lenovo on Friday said the events of the past week have reinforced the principal that customer experience, security and privacy must be their top priorities.

    With that in mind, the Chinese computer maker said they will significantly reduce the amount of pre-loaded applications on new systems with the goal of shipping cleaner, safer PCs.

    superfish microsoft windows lenovo bloatware pc manufacturers adware utilities games boutique pc pre-installed apps programs toolbars screensavers junkware pc builders signature edition microsoft signature edition

    The initiative is starting immediately and by the time they launch Windows 10 products, Lenovo’s standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software to enhance custom hardware (like 3D camera, for example), security software and in-house Lenovo software.

    Lenovo added that in some countries, certain applications that are customarily expected by users will also be included. All other software – what the industry often refers to as adware and bloatware – will effectively be eliminated.

    The company previous said it would never use Superfish again and has published a removal tool.

    superfish microsoft windows lenovo bloatware pc manufacturers adware utilities games boutique pc pre-installed apps programs toolbars screensavers junkware pc builders signature edition microsoft signature edition

    The inclusion of bloatware (unwanted programs, toolbars, utilities, games and screensavers) is unfortunately a common practice among computer manufacturers. What happens is software makers approach companies like Lenovo with their wallets open, offering to pay builders in exchange for pre-installing their applications. Although an inconvenience for users, it’s a tradeoff that most have been willing to make in exchange for added revenue.

    Granted, not everyone is willing to stoop to such lows for a few extra bucks. Boutique PC builders typically offer a clean installation of Windows while systems sold through the Microsoft Store are classified as Signature Edition meaning they don’t come with bloatware.

    Lenovo’s unfortunate incident is a huge opportunity for the rest of the industry and with any luck, it’ll serve as a catalyst for change. It’s time to ditch the bloatware.

    Permalink to story.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2015
  2. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 708   +168

    This is why I do a clean install on every machine I happen to have that isn't custom built by yours truly.
     
    rpjkw11 likes this.
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,555   +2,897

    Bloatware will never die, just like the ever growing infestation of ads spread across the Internet.
     
  4. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,631   +432

    I'll believe it when I see it.
     
    ypsylon, Julio Franco and rpjkw11 like this.
  5. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 865   +434

    ^^ this.
     
  6. Runt1me

    Runt1me TS Rookie Posts: 30

    "clean installation of Windows" o.O what?

    doesn't help that windows is not clean to begin with and you have to try your best to sanitize and cage it after install (blocking phone home 'features', disabling data indexing and obfuscation, plugging holes ..).
     
  7. pmcardle

    pmcardle TS Enthusiast Posts: 115   +21

    Typical Microsoft hate message. There's absolutely nothing wrong with a clean install of any Windows OS. It's the same reason why some people think Apple PCs are so reliable. The only reason is they are delivered to the customer in a clean state - I.e. no bloatware. I purchased a Dell XPS-15 for the wife, removed the 32GB rapid restore drive and installed a 256GB micro SSD drive with a clean install of W8.1. It's on its third years it's still a smoking machine.
     
    Route44 and Ultraman1966 like this.
  8. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,556   +862

    "security software and in-house Lenovo software."

    um this is what I consider to be bloatware...?
     
    rpjkw11 likes this.
  9. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Booster Posts: 200   +44

    Buy the Signature PC's from the Windows store or build your own
     
    rpjkw11 likes this.
  10. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,059   +645

    Amen.
     
  11. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 708   +168

    No...
     
  12. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 817   +231

    Kind of funny since the phoning home they talk about goes hand in hand with the plugging holes since Windows Update does both :p As for the data indexing, I love it once it is done you can find anything on your drives very quickly, but paranoia is a strong force in some.
     
  13. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar TS Evangelist Posts: 6,477   +965

    It is a great thing. It will make PC companies more focused on providing the highest quality and not think of their customers as toys/tests...
     
  14. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 910   +386

    Home PC's, I build myself, laptops, for the most part, kind of hard to do, but, what I have done for years, is to get a laptop, leave it disconnected from the web as much as possible, set it up, install whatever I need, then power off, pull the HDD, install a new blank one, install the OS, and set it up how I want. I put a post it note on the drive, with the purchase date, and warranty expiration date, put it on the box the blank HDD came in, and put it on the shelf. If nothing happens before the warranty is expired, I just wipe the factory drive and use it as a spare. In the last 10 years, I've only had to take the factory drive and pop it back in for warranty purposes once. Laptop drives aren't as expensive as they use to be, so it's an easy way to deal with bloat and trying to untangle all the crapware "value added software" installed on a machine.
     
    cartera likes this.
  15. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,323   +710

    Windows XP search was lighting fast, many times quicker than what came later, with NO indexing needed. It also delivered far more accurate results. Nearly everything Microsoft has done in the last decade has been a step backwards.
     
  16. Nima304

    Nima304 TS Guru Posts: 365   +81

    Yeah, it doesn't sound like they're changing anything at all.
     
  17. ypsylon

    ypsylon TS Enthusiast Posts: 75   +10

    Best way to buy a laptop/notebook/etc is to buy it without OS or even without HDD/SSD.

    Also with regard to that "in-house Lenovo software". It's just another way of camouflage that we will put something annoying anyway. I try to stay away from mobile devices as much as possible. Remember one Toshiba notebook which friend given me to straighten it up. Man I had some serious work ahead, with one git of Toshiba-bloatware which no matter what I did always persisted. So finally went the usual way. New disk and goodbye crapware.
     
  18. cartera

    cartera TS Addict Posts: 296   +78

    I'm not sure whether you're drawing attention to Windows deliberately and implying that they're as bad as Lenovo. At least your given the option while installing to turn off the features you talk of in Windows. As for bloat ware and Superfish its already installed and running making it much worse in my opinion.
     
  19. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,621   +376

    To be fair, standard windows install enables a lot of rubbish. I disable half a dozen services, disable startup programs etc on install. Things like Superfetch, indexing service, automatic updates (download but don't auto install as you really need to vet them before installing e.g. updates that brick windows which happens way too often), multimedia scheduler service which is garbage as well, and a few more.

    Back on topic, hope to see the anti bloatware push. Java, adobe installs would be nice but then again I'd rather see acrobat, java and flash die off so they're 3 less vectors we are constantly patching.
     
  20. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,918   +685

    I wish more companies would do this, If HP could sell a "hard drive-less" version of their laptops. Or when you customize your dell you can choose "remove HDD" as an option.

    This, in turn, saves money everywhere, they don't need to provide me with a Windows License or a HDD.
    Plus most laptop manufacturers put rubbish slow HDD's in anyway. Would it kill them to spend a fiver more and put a Black Edition Western Digital in? but I guess most high end Laptops are coming with SSD's these days.
     
  21. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,212   +174

    If the company wants to bundle software, provide this on a separate media. I'll promise to take a look and install what's mildly attractive. Games and productivity software would be good titles to include on such media. But I'll know that I'm installing this crap at my risk.
     
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,695   +1,882

    IIRC, Toshiba, (at least used to), do just that. I have an ancient Toshiba Celeron lappy, which came with Vista. I think there are 3 restore discs, and I think the OS in on one. I'll dig it out if if you need a better answer than that, but it was an impulse buy, and I hardly ever use it.

    That said, Toshiba has, a ton of proprietary garbage and trials, installed on this machine
     
  23. gollum21

    gollum21 TS Rookie

    "Windows XP search was lighting fast, many times quicker than what came later, with NO indexing needed. It also delivered far more accurate results. Nearly everything Microsoft has done in the last decade has been a step backwards."

    Uhm, no. This is not usually true at all. The indexed search tends to have the file visible before you're even done typing the name in. This is one of the first things people notice usually lmao.

    I remember waiting over 5 minutes just to wait and see if the file was even in XP.

    Now I can just type in the file name. By the time you type the file name in, it either has results for you or will tell if there are no results at all most of the time. This is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY faster than the XP search! Far, far, faster.

    Perhaps you turned off the wsearch service or something? Even then that should start up upon boot... unless u went far out of your way to keep it off. There's just no natural reason an index search will generally take longer than an XP search! Sorry!


    Love or hate M$/Windows, your information on windows searches, at least, is false. Now if you want to argue that the indexing is not worth the resources it uses I could agree on that, but it is still faster either way.
     
  24. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 141   +21

    That's the first thing that I do, I format my HDD/SSD and reinstall just the essentials.

    Operating System, Anti-virus, Firewall, MS Office, Chrome and nothing more........
     
  25. loading

    loading TS Enthusiast Posts: 66   +13

    Come on guys. Don't buy manufactured PC's. Build them!
     

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